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« Narcissism of Minor Differences | Main | A Venomous Cult? »

February 12, 2008


Lovely writing- I'm most definitely ordering my own copy, it's not available in the local library, unfortunately.

Also, another cat quote alert : from the book, the Bohemian saying "The cat makes sure whose chin it may lick" (page xv).

That's a beautiful painting, Ruchira- I really love the sense of sky (which we unfortunately never see quite as much of, here in the valleys and hills, the abstraction of the corn field(?).Is that lunch pails in the farm workers' hands?


You might enjoy this book a lot. You too have a penchant for noting the unusual and the humorous in the midst of the humdrum.

I am very fond of this painting because I was able to create the impressionistic look that I had hoped for. The skies indeed are spectacular in the flat lands of Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma where you can see for miles and when you drive, you get the feeling of approaching the edge of the earth in the horizon. I have seen some fabulous things in the skies of the midwest including a golden (literally) twilight in Oklahoma which lasted for about ten minutes before sundown and like the light bulb in Ault's painting, transformed everything into a magical world.

But notice in the preface of Kooser's book that you have linked to, that Nebraska is not technically flat although it is mostly all in one plane. The land tilts like a draining board from the Rockies towards the Missouri River at the border of Nebraska and Iowa.

Yes, those are lunch sacks in the hands of the young farm boys. The alternative title of this painting used to be "Lunch Hour In the Prairie."

I too love the painting! It is by far my favorite of all your work I have seen. I love impressionists' work and this is excellent!

Thanks, Becki.

Do you also remember the skies in Oklahoma around sunset? That golden twighlight I described in the last comment was from when you and I were both in Quail Creek. It happened suddenly one evening - as if gold dust had become suspended in the air. Even the insides of the house acquired a glow for those few short minutes. I can never forget it just as I can't the red earth of Oklahoma.

Viewing Ruchira's painting reminded me of a poem that Ruchira has noted in e-mail correspondence really fits the Ault painting to which Kooser responded with his poem. I thought of one of Donald Justice's American Sketches:

Excepting the diner
On the outskirts
The town of Ladora
At 3 A.M.
Was dark but
For my headlights
And up in
One second-story room
A single light
Where someone
Was sick or
Perhaps reading
As I drove past
At seventy
Not thinking
This poem
Is for whoever
Had the light on

When I mentioned this to Ruchira, I added:

"There is no obvious reason why this poem should have come to mind, but it must have something to do with my perhaps mistaken assumption that Ladora is a midwestern town or at least much like a town one would find in Nebraska. I suppose your attention to Kooser, too, drew me to poetry. In any case, both the poem and the painting are very lovely. I hadn't realized until just now that the Justice poem is an exercise in constellating darkness with significant moments of light: a town completely dark, 'except' for the diner, 'but for' the headlights and the window. Your painting in its own way features sparkles and sweeps of light in a field of darkness."

Now, after viewing the Ault painting reproduced in Wikipedia, I see stronger affinities with the Justice poem, although Justice is clearly associating light with individual lives illuminating the darkness, where Ault emphasizes the abstract geometrical patterns of a scene in the absence of a human being.

I really like the reference to the "wolf vision" in the review, Ruchira, which comes subtly so close to what I discern in your painting as well...the expanse of the skies juxtaposed with the "ordinariness" of the lunch sacks in the hands of the two human figures amidst the quiet sunlight of the afternoon. I'd love to read Kooser.

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